Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Considered the best of the all-star "studio" musicals of 1929 and 1930, Paramount on Parade utilized the talents of practically everyone on the Paramount Pictures payroll. Under the supervision of British musical-comedy favorite Elsie Janis, 11 top directors contributed to the project: Dorothy Arzner, Otto Brower, Edmund Goulding, Victor Heerman, Edwin H. Knopf, Rowland V. Lee, Ernst Lubitsch, Lothar Mendes, Victor Schertzinger, Edward Sutherland and Frank Tuttle. Introduced by masters of ceremonies Jack Oakie, Skeets Gallegher and Leon Errol, the film is a vaudeville-like maelstrom of musical duets, comedy sketches, occasional dramatic interludes, and spectacular production numbers. To mention all the highlights would take a book in itself but among them are Nancy Carroll's rendition of "Dancing to Save Your Sole" (performed inside a giant shoe!); Maurice Chevalier (and chorus) soaring heavenward in "Sweeping the Clouds Away" ; child actress Mitzi Green's dead-on impersonations of Chevalier, George Arliss, Moran & Mack and Helen "Boop-a-doop" Kane; Ernst Lubitsch's witty staging of an Apache dance in the style of a polite boudoir farce, with Chevalier (again) and Evelyn Brent; Clara Bow's saucy "I'm True to the Navy Now" ; the wish-fulfillment sketch "Impulses," in which George Bancroft and Kay Francis delightedly upset a dinner party by saying what's really on their minds; and best of all, "Murder Will Out," a murder-mystery parody wherein Fu Manchu (Warner Oland) bumps off Sherlock Holmes (Clive Brook) and Philo Vance (William Powell) when they refuse to give him proper credit for his killing of Jack Oakie. Only the dramatic sketch with Frederic March and Ruth Chatterton truly creaks when seen today. Originally released at 102 minutes, Paramount on Parade is presently available only in an 80-minute version, with all its Technicolor sequences missing: casualties include the elaborate "Drink to the Girl of My Dreams" number, directed by Edmund Goulding and featuring Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur and Fay Wray, and Harry Green's dialect song "Isadore the Toreodor".
dance [art], entertainer, show, songwriter